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But fince their wealth (the best they had) was mine,
Ye fov'reign wives! give ear and understand,
Hark, old Sir Paul! ('twas thus I us'd to fay)
If poor (you fay) fhe drains her husband's purfe;
Vapours and pride by turns poffefs her brain,
If fair, then chalte fhe cannot long abide,
If foul, her wealth the lufty lover lures,
Horfes (thou fay'ft) and affes men may try,
You tell me, to preferve your wife's good grace, Your eyes must always languifh on my face, Your tongue with conftant flatt'ries feed my ear, And tag each fentence with, My life! my dear ! If by ftrange chance, a modeft blush be rais'd, Be fure my fine complexion must be prais'd. My garments always must be new and gay, And feafts ftill kept upon my wedding-day. Then must my nurse be pleas'd, and fav'rite maid ; And endless treats, and endless vifits paid, To a long train of kindred, friends, allies; All this thou fay'ft, and all thou fay'st are lies. On Jenkin too you caft a fquinting eye: What can your 'prentice raise your jealousy? Fresh are his ruddy cheeks, his forehead fair, And like the burnish'd gold his curling hair. But clear thy wrinkled brow, and quit thy forrow, I'd fcorn your 'prentice, fhould you die to-morrow. Why are thy chefts all lock'd? on what defign? Are not thy worldly goods and treasure mine? Sir, I'm no fool: nor fhall you, by St. John, Have goods and body to yourself alone.
One you shall quit, in spite of both your eyes I heed not, I, the bolts, the locks, the spies. If you had wit, you'd fay, "Go where you will, 130 "Dear fpoufe, I credit not the tales they tell : "Take all the freedoms of a married life; "I know thee for a virtuous, faithful wife."
Lord! when you have enough, what need you care How merrily foever others fare? 135 Tho' all the day I give and take delight, Doubt not, fufficient will be left at night. 'Tis but a just and rational defire, To light a taper at a neighbour's fire,
There's danger too, you think, in rich array, 140 And none can long be modest that are gay.. The Cat, if you but finge her tabby skin, The chimney keeps, and fits content within; But once grown fleek, will from her corner run, Sport with her tail, and wanton in the fun; She licks her fair round face, and frisks abroad, To fhew her fur, and to be catterwaw'd.
Lo thus, my friends, I wrought to my defires. These three right ancient venerable fires. I told 'em, Thus you fay, and thus you do, I told 'em falfe, but Jenkin fwore 'twas true. I, like a dog, could bite as well as whine, And first complain'd, whene'er the guilt was mine. I tax'd them oft with wenching and amours, When their weak legs scarce dragg'd'em out of doors; And swore the rambles that I took by night, Were all to fpy what damfels they bedight. That colour brought me many hours of mirth; For all this wit is giv'n us from our birth. Heav'n gave to women the peculiar grace To spin, to weep, and cully human race. VOL. I.
By this nice conduct, and this prudent course,
Then kifs'd again, and chid, and rail'd betwixt.
To drop a dear difpute I was unable, Fv'n tho' the Pope himself had fat at table. But when my point was gain'd, then thus I fpoke, "Billy, my dear, how sheepishly you look ? "Approach, my fpoufe, and let me kifs thy cheek; "Thou should't be always thus, refign'd and meek! "Of Job's great patience since so oft you preach, 186 "Well fhould you practise, who fo well can teach. "'Tis difficult to do, I must allow, "But I, my deareft, will inftruct you how. "Great is the bleffing of a prudent wife, "Who puts a period to domeftic strife. "One of us two muft rule, and one obey; "And fince in man right reafon bears the fway, "Let that frail thing, weak woman have her way. "The wives of all my family have rul'd "Their tender hufbands, and their paffions cool'd.
Fy, 'tis unmanly thus to figh and groan ; What! would you have me to yourself alone? "Why take me, Love! take all and ev'ry part! "Here's your revenge! you love it at your heart. 200 "Would I vouchfafe to fell what nature gave, "You little think what custom I could have. "But fee! I'm all your own--nay hold-for shame! What means my dear-indeed-you are to blame." Thus with my first three Lords I past my life; 205 A very woman, and a very wife. What fums from these old spouses I could raife, Procur'd young husbands in my riper days. Tho' past my bloom, not yet decay'd was I, Wanton and wild, and chatter'd like a pie. In country-dances ftill I bore the bell,
And fung as fweet as ev`ning Philomel.
But oh, good Gods! whene'er a thought I caft
My fourth dear spouse was not exceeding true;